At the risk of being redundant, I just wanted to echo many of the above sentiments...
Keep the forum open to all. I can't see why permitting- even encouraging some physcians to post anonymously and/or utilize the prvate messaging feature doesn't alleviate any and all concerns about privacy.
Removing this invaluable component of the forums from public availability would sadden me, but would also likely remove much of my incentive for reading the postings as frequently as I do.
To the physicians, the day-in day-out babble isn't boring us, it's helping us have a more clear picture of exactly what we are getting outselves into. Your contributions to this site are vital, and it would be a real tragedy to not continue to share... even IF anonymously...
Some other sites allow users to post with their name or with an anonymous ID (POL is one). You can switch back and forth as often as you like. On MomMD, you can only post with your one username. Maybe if users had the option to post with their user name or an anonymous ID, people would be more comfortable.
This would allow users to post with their current user name when they are comfortable with the topic. If a topic came up that they wanted to comment on anonymously, they could just switch to their anonymous ID. On POL, when you post you have the option to check a box that says "post anonymously". If you check it, your anonymous ID is shown instead of your user name.
Their have been times that I wanted to post a response to a question using an example involving a patient, colleague, or family member but did not post because I didn't want that person revealed. Theoretically, if you know who I am from my user ID, you might be able to figure out who my patient is or who my family member is. If I had the option to occasionally post with an anonymous ID, it would be harder for you to figure out who that patient or family member is.
I do not think that the forums do have that capability - BUT we could go the complete opposite and make posting in the forums open to those without a user ID (you can name whatever you want to be, OR log in and use your ID). This is basically the same as what you're describing!
I think this is a GREAT idea!
President, MomMD<br />Connecting Women in Medicine - Welcome all physicians, resident physicians, medical students and premedical students!
I think that physicians desreve to have a forum to serve their needs. If the concern is that that information is shared openly with others, then maybe someone can post excepts from the forum to another forum with the approval of the writer.
The messages that I read with the most interest are the physician forums, because insight into the world that awaits is very relevant to the paths I choose today as a medical student. While a restricted site for physicians may benefit some, many of us would not have access to some of the most valuable information on this site.